Q and A with WashU Women's Soccer Seniors

Photo by Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photos
Photo by Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photos

By Taylor Cohen
Sports Information Intern

The Washington University in St. Louis women's soccer team will honor its eight seniors prior to Sunday's contest against New York University – Maggie Crist, Darcy Cunningham, Caroline Dempsey, Audrey Freeman, Jessica Kovach, Hannah Menard, Jessica Ridderhoff and Isabelle Tamburro.

The third winningest class in school history, the Class of 2018 helped lead the Bears to a 70-7-5 (.884) overall record with three University Athletic Association (UAA) titles, two Final Fours and the 2016 NCAA Division III National Championship.

The "M8's" reflected on the past four years with Sports Information Intern Taylor Cohen.

MAGGIE CRIST
What have you learned from playing under head coach Jim Conlon?
Coach taught me that, regardless of whatever punches come my way, as long as I stay true to myself and recognize all the support I have around me, nothing can keep me down. "Fall down nine times, get up 10."  Oh ya, and constantly smiling doesn't hurt. 

What is your favorite soccer memory at WashU?  
Having the opportunity to play with my sister, Lizzy, for two years after high school is something I will always be thankful for. However, having the opportunity to play alongside a group of powerful women who redefined the term family for me in such unexplainable and remarkable ways, for ALL four years... now that's something I will never forget. 

What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU? 
Work at an ad agency, Colle McVoy, in downtown Minneapolis, and be back with my family.  

DARCY CUNNINGHAM
What have you learned from playing under head coach Jim Conlon? 
Coach taught me about the importance of priorities. When you adhere to a few sets of core values you set yourself up for success because you are less likely to become complacent. Each year this creates a group of 30 people who like to win and are willing to put in the work to do so. 

What is your favorite soccer memory at WashU?                   
I will never forget the 2015 and 2016 Final Four experiences. The way the WashU athletic community rallied around our team was amazing. Being able to spend the better part of a week with the team where the only focus was on soccer made for some unparalleled memories. Then, getting to bask in winning the National Championship was incredible. 

What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU? 
I will be working for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company as an Underwriter in Chicago.

CAROLINE DEMPSEY
What have you learned from playing under head coach Jim Conlon?
I've learned the art of "flipping the switch". Coach is very good about encouraging fun and enjoyment when the moment arises, but also knowing when to flip the switch to get down to business and hit the grindstone. Striking this balance is crucial to making our team culture what it is.

What is your favorite soccer memory at WashU?  
Honestly, I feel like I've lived a full life of memories each season I've had on the team, but I'd be remiss if I didn't say winning the National Championship in 2016 as a shoe-in answer for this. Reaching a pinnacle moment like that with a group of girls who you see as family created countless unforgettable mini stories and experiences. My voice was gone for roughly 2 weeks thereafter. Pure elation.

What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU? 
My main focus is to use what I've learned in my time here to live fully and positively benefit others.  I'm currently on the quest to find the best way to achieve this plan. 

AUDREY FREEMAN
What have you learned from playing under head coach Jim Conlon?
Coach has taught me to focus on the task in front of you not future ones, a one game at a time mentality. Another thing I've learned from my time as a Bear is to leave anywhere you go better than you found it, whether it's the bus, the bench, or the program. 

What is your favorite soccer memory at WashU?
My favorite memory is definitely the national championship my sophomore year. I'll never forget rushing the field to dogpile everyone after the last PK, it was absolutely surreal. Candidly, a close second would have to be racing our assistant coach Randi (Simmons) through the Atlanta airport after the Elite Eight in Texas.

What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU? 
Next year I'm going to be working as an engineer for L'Oréal in Little Rock, AR

JESSICA KOVACH
What have you learned from playing under head coach Jim Conlon?
I've learned from Coach that all it takes to have a great day is to wake up in the morning and get out of bed.

What is your favorite soccer memory at WashU?  
My favorite soccer memory is the mosh pit of hugs following the national championship.  

What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU? 
After graduation, I plan on a year of service with Americorps before joining the FDIC program for Financial Institution Specialists. 

HANNAH MENARD
What have you learned from playing under head coach Jim Conlon?
I've learned how to have a healthy balance in my life from coach. Coach always acknowledges when we're having a tough academic week and encourages us to take the time we need for our studies. He has taught me to compartmentalize and be present in every moment to get the most out of whatever I'm doing. Whether its practice, class, or a game, Coach has taught me to be focused on the task at hand and not let external forces influence my mindset in the moment. 

What is your favorite soccer memory at WashU?  
My favorite soccer memory from WashU would have to be beating Chicago for the UAA conference championship last year. While there have been countless stories from road trips and pregame rituals, this win sticks with me the most not only because we won, but because of the support we had at the game from girls who didn't make the travel roster and from alumni and parents. It was a true "Bear" victory. 

What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU? 
Next year I'll be attending business school and am currently in the process of applying... so TBD on where I'll be going.

JESSICA RIDDERHOFF
What have you learned from playing under head coach Jim Conlon?
Before coming to college most of my previous experience playing soccer had been about individual development. Under Coach Conlon, I have learned so much about an individual's role in making the team better and how she can make others better through selfless actions.

What is your favorite soccer memory at WashU?  
Sprinting through the streets of New York City to get to see Times Square for the first time and be back at the bus on time.

What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU?
Undecided – pursuing jobs in data science and software engineering 

ISABELLE TAMBURRO
What have you learned from playing under head coach Jim Conlon?
How to be part of a team where the collective goals and relationships matter more than the individual.

What is your favorite soccer memory at WashU?  
Final four in Kansas City freshman year.

What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU? 
Working for McKinsey & Company in Chicago as a Business Analyst.